“So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.”Galatians 2:11-21
As you read today’s passage, you may think Paul doesn’t sound like a very nice guy. After all, he was an apostle by the skin of his teeth, so to speak (even he said in 1 Corinthians 15:8 that Jesus “last of all… appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born”). Yet he boldly confronted Peter who had walked and talked with Jesus. Seeing Peter act as though God’s free grace in Christ was insufficient to be made right with God, Paul was compelled to speak up.
Similarly, Luther saw his church out of accord with the gospel, weighing believers down with requirements of works on top of faith for salvation. As the church clouded the message of free grace in Christ, Luther urged it to recover the simple truth of the good news in Jesus. When the church leaders refused to hear Luther’s call for reform, a new movement was born: the Protestant Reformation. At its foundation, the Reformation was about five wonderful, life-directing “alones” (solas): Scripture Alone, Grace Alone, Faith Alone, Christ Alone, and To God Alone be Glory.
“Now the true Gospel has it that we are Justified by faith alone, without the deeds of the
law.” (Martin Luther, 1535)